.Who's Doing the Work is the name of the book written by Jan Burkins and Kim Yaris. I have not yet had the time to read their book, but was fortunate enough to sit in on their presentation at the Wisconsin State Reading Association (WSRA) Conference. They shared ideas and prompts to help empower students to take ownership of their learning. It fit perfectly with my professional goal.
In the process of seeking out more information, I looked to Twitter and liked minded individuals. This eventually led me to #IMMOOC2. As I was reading about the 8 characteristics of an innovator's mindset, the problem finder / solver characteristic fit right in with my focus of empowering students. I especially like the statement "Guide on the Side." It was not long ago that I changed my position working with students so I was not across the table, but next to them. One student asked, "Why are you sitting next to me now?" I replied, "I want you to lead your learning and I am just here to help you." My thinking was across the table was a more authoritative position and I wanted to be more of a facilitator. I also offered them the choice of using a computer chair similar to the one I use. I think in order for them to lead their learning they need to see themselves as teachers. They need the freedom within fences to safely explore what they need and get to know themselves.
In the book, Innovator's Mindset, George Couros states it is essential that we learn when to step in and when to step aside... This statement resonated with me. Many days, I feel like I am in a dance with my students. I have to know when to lead and when to step back and let them lead. I am balancing modeling with releasing.
Some of my students are getting so good at knowing what they need, I actually have said, "Who is the teacher in this room?" They giggle and continue to tell me what they think should be next.
Since the WSRA Conference, I wear my bracelet reminder and regularly ask myself "Who's Doing the Work?" It is not easy to stay quiet and wait, but the rewards gained are worth the wait. This is definitely something new for my students and I, but we are finding our way together.
April Padalino and Cyndi Dull
We are educational coaches with a passion for learning and empowering students, parents, and educators to Bring Education to Life.